By the late 20th century competition between the US and the USSR to build and launch the first military space craft is intense. The space race is on. But all this ends abruptly when massive alien space ships appear in the skies the world over. An invasion of sorts. But these aliens claim they are not here to conquer Earth. Merely to supervise its development. Or so they say. Adding to people’s mistrust is the aliens refusal to show themselves.
With little in way of choice, Humanity accepts the rule of the Overlords, as they come to be known. Intervention in daily affairs is rare, but when it comes it is clear that the Overlords power is absolute.
In the following years the world settles into a period of peace and prosperity. But some complain that the Overlords have robbed Mankind of it’s passion and creativity.
But the ultimate reason for the Overlords presence has not yet revealed itself. When that time comes, everything will change.
Regarded as one of Clarke’s better books, it is definitely one of his more challenging stories.